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June 28, 2023 2 min read

How do I know that the food I am choosing for my dog is giving them what they need to live their best long life?

While some of us may have taken biology at school, and some of us may have studied health and nutrition for humans (or even dogs), for a lot of us, it can be hard to know how to make the best choices for our best friend. 

For many choices in life, we look to regulatory bodies, government departments and independent evaluators to certify that the products we choose meet relevant standards for our safety and peace of mind. 

Today we want to share a little about how dog food is certified in South Africa and what you can look for to ensure the nutritional claims made by your hound’s food have been verified by the relevant authority. This is by no means the only thing to look for when choosing your hound’s food, but it is an important starting point.

In South Africa, dog food is regulated by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), previously Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). This is because pet food has been classed as animal feed for decades (more on this in future posts). And South Africa is not unique. This classification is similar for many countries around the world. 

There is legislation in place (Act36/1947 for those legal eagles out there) that requires all pet food to be certified by the DARDLR if it is going to be sold as a nutritionally complete meal. Companies like Happy Hounds have to submit our formulated food recipes and samples to the department. This is a detailed process and requires that the dog food recipes have been approved by pet nutritionists. If the recipes meet the necessary nutritional standards, the food will be certified Complete and Balanced and given a certification number that starts with a “V”

As humans we eat a wide variety of food on any given day and over the course of any given week. This means we can obtain our nutritional needs from a range of meals and dont need each meal to be complete. Most of our hounds are more limited in their consumption habits, eating only what we give them, and, in most cases, eating the same thing pretty much every day. So it is advisable that every meal is complete and balanced in and of itself. 

So, if you want to be sure that the food you choose meets your hound’s fundamental bio-nutrient requirements, a first check will be to see if it has been classified “Complete and Balanced”, three very important words that cannot be used if the company has not had its recipes certified, and if it has a V-number. 

So, we hope that this helped you understand the importance of these two little words, “Complete & Balanced”. Stay tuned for future posts as we explore the other important things to look for when choosing the best for your best friend.